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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Thursday 26 October 2006

A slice of fiction from a larger body of work.

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by Susan Abraham

By the light of the sunset, we relish in this watchful setting. Lying together in bed with legs clumsily entwined, we clutch hands in a mad desperation like anxious but obedient twins awaiting the maternal goodnight kiss.

We talk in low intimate tones.

You whisper softly into my ear, reciting my name like a passionate guitar strum while pulling at my heartstrings without warning, and dropping hymns into the soft wounded core of my being. You will me not to cry while holding my face tightly within yours, as I sob uncontrollably feeling quite beside myself.

You hand me a tissue.

This simple act makes me forget my tears and practised hysterics. Once, in a quiet growl under your breath, you warned me to stop or you would slap me hard. Another time, you screamed while standing close to my face and yet another, shaking me until I turned a cold blue. At the height of its most painful; was the time when you abdandoned me for a week until you felt quite rightly, that I "had come to my senses."

Then in my heart, I had fallen victim to the rain, ice and cold.

And all the time, you watched me from the window, your face never leaving mine as you lit cigarette after cigarette, while emblazoned in your anger like a notorious Greek statue.

But now, seeming unable to exercise that caution, you embrace the tireless role of the compassionate prophet.

You stroke the unruly strands of my long hair and reassure me that everything will be alright.

Unconvinced, I stare upwards at the ceiling.

My head appears encased in stone as I lie immovable. You pretend not to mind as you engagingly brush away the loose curls until you can see my breasts again.

Then you touch the heavy flesh of me, commanding them to rest slightly against your face. You tickle my palms and I smile. You trace the faint outline of my lips with your fingers and follow your imaginary lines all the way up my eyes. You pretend to write something on my cheeks. You want to paint me, you say, you want to crayon my soul.

Two artists wanted to paint me once. Yes, this is all true.

One commanded a hasty charcoal sketch as I sat to dinner at a little roadside stall in Kuala Lumpur. Yes, of all the places too. I was embarassed as a crowd quickly gathered.

"Please..." he pleaded as I got up to leave. I stared, a little hesitant. He looked unkept and slightly nervous. Amused onlookers watched curiously willing me to a dare. I sat with a friend who appeared faintly envious. Slowly, I sunk once more into my chair while cradling my thoughts with clumsy astonishment.

Another time someone asked if he could paint me. I knew this artist and I had strolled past his gallery. He was often in the news and featured in credit card magazines. That kind of thing. He came running out. I would have to pay a fee, he added apologetically but it wasn't always that he wanted to capture faces on canvas. I would be so pleased, he promised as a last resort.

Now, I continue to lie still without moving. I am thrilled, intrigued and at the same time, terribly sad. You smile; all the time watching and waiting for a reprive. We move into a closer alcove; covering every gap of our bodies with skin that stretches and glues us together all the way into eternity.

We have become quite nicely now, Siamese twins, head on head and chest on chest.

Already your words have crawled for sweaty miles across the desert stream to meet me in a mirage of light and love. Now, an oasis sparkles from my wound. Soon we must part but there is no turning back for me and I must face whatever comes!
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Image Credit: Talullah